Monday, December 28, 2015

Mistletoe State Park For Christmas

As I mentioned in my last post, Gary was not feeling too well for a few days. He was trying to get a bunch of things done around the house while we were home, and at the same time, I think he was actually running himself down more and more. Eventually, the flu bug got him BIG time, and he was down for the count. After a couple of days of bed rest with me watching over him, he began to feel somewhat better, but still far from perfect. He completed doing whatever was necessary to get us on the road, and on December 23rd, we headed back into Georgia for our final round of the camping season. It was a 310 mile ride to get to our stopping point at Mistletoe State Park near Augusta, GA. That's a longer drive than we like to make in a single day. What made it seem even longer was that we drove the last third of the trip in the rain. We finally arrived, having driven straight through with only one brief stop for fuel. It's always hard for Gary to pass up a photo opportunity, so he braved the light rain for a few seconds, and snapped the photo of me entering the gates at the park. We checked in at the park office, and made our way down the long road to the campground. As usual, we drove through the campground in search of a campsite that we really liked. There were many to choose from at Mistletoe, not only because there weren't many campers there, but also because the majority of the campsites were SO nice. Whoever laid out the park did an incredible job. The campground loops are on a peninsula that's surrounded by the 72,000 acre (yep, you read that right) Clark's Hill Lake. Some of the campsites are REALLY close to the water, a bit TOO close for my taste. That makes me nervous and Gary knows it, so to please me, he compromised and picked a site that was picturesque, yet far enough away from the water's edge to make me happy. We were in site number 82, a multi-level, pull-through, gravel covered campsite with some highly unusual features. There was the top level, which was where Dodge and I stayed. One step down was another graveled area where the picnic table, fire ring, and the most unusual feature of the campsite was, a raised deck that measured roughly eight feet square. As far as we know, our campsite was the only one in the park with that cool little deck. Several more steps down, there was grass, trees, and shrubbery on a slope that lead to the water's edge. Near the bottom were two small benches, something else we didn't see in any of the other campsites. Unfortunately, other than for a few short hours during our four-day stay, the weather just didn't cooperate. There was either fog or rain during most of our visit. Gary never got a chance to take full advantage of all the special features of the campsite, but he has already booked a stay for us next fall. We'll be going in late October, so hopefully we will be there in time to see some fall colors. No rain would be really nice too. During the short period of nicer weather that we enjoyed, Gary was out snapping pictures of the rest of the park. I'll be posting some of them soon. I hope that everyone had a fun Christmas. I sure did!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Weary From The Road

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Dodge didn't have as much fun on our last camping trip as Gary and I had. He doesn't mind going anywhere on flat lands, but he's not at all happy on mountainous terrain, and we had a LOT of mountain travel in northern Georgia. He pulled me up and down those hills and didn't complain, but he was obviously struggling. Needless to say, he was a whole lot happier when the mountains were behind us. On top of the struggles, a logging truck traveling in the opposite direction tossed up a rock and cracked Dodge's windshield. OUCH!!! That said, now you know why our most recent trip wasn't one of Dodge's favorites. Somewhere along the way, Dodge also surpassed the 248,000 mile mark. We ask a lot from him, and he continues to get us from place to place without mechanical problems, although he's getting older and the miles might be catching up with him. Gary bought an annual park pass from the Georgia State Parks this year, and it has REALLY paid off. With the pass comes a FREE night of camping, and 10% off on all other nights of camping. Plus, there's a 10% discount on park souvenirs. Gary has saved a LOT of money with that pass, and he will definitely buy another one before we go camping in Georgia again next fall and winter. This has nothing to do with the annual pass, but Georgia also has something they call the "Club Passport". It's a FREE program offered to all campers. With every paid night's stay, you get a sticker to attach to the grid on the back of the passport book. When you get ten stickers, you also get a FREE night's camping. We have over 60 stickers right now, so we have 6 FREE nights of camping available to us. We are going to use them up on our final trip into Georgia in a couple of weeks. We love camping, but FREE camping is the BEST!!! For some reason, and I'm not sure why, Gary and Dodge and I all seem more tired than we usually do after a trip. I can understand why Dodge feels tired, but I've been extra sleepy too. As for Gary, he acquired a bit of a cold on the last leg of our trip, and he hasn't felt all that great since we've been home. But, there are things to be done, so he's muddling through. It won't be long before we head out on our final trip of the camping season, so we're all trying to rest and get healthy so we can thoroughly enjoy our journey. Dodge won't get a new windshield until after the New Year begins, but he will get an oil change before we head back out. That should make him at least a little bit happier. Other than that, everything is fine here at the Green Acres Garage. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gordonia Alatamaha State Park, Reidsville, GA.

It was a long ride from our last stop at Amicalola Falls to our next stop at Gordonia Alatamaha. It was 282 miles to be exact, and that is further than we normally travel in a day. What made it seem especially long was all of the time we spent in the Georgia mountains before we actually began heading south. All those twists and turns and ups and downs made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster. We arrived safely and without any problems, and that's all that matters. There are some really odd named towns in Florida, but we passed through one in Georgia that rivals the funniest of names we've ever seen. Just west of Reidsville where the park is located, is a community called Ohoopee. It's too small to be a town, so they call it a community instead. They didn't even have a stoplight! Not long after entering and leaving the community of Ohoopee, we crossed the Ohoopee River, so I got to laugh at that funny name a second time. I needed a good laugh after the tiring day on the road. Once we arrived at the park, we soon found out that the park office is closed for the season. Check-in is now at the pro shop on the golf course here in the park. We didn't know where it was, but the camp host pointed us in the right direction. After check-in, we drove through the campground like we always do, and picked out campsite number 7. We could have had a spot a little closer to the lake, but a good view of the lake and the close proximity to the restroom made the campsite we chose the overall winner. Gary walked all over the park, taking pictures along the way. I don't think he walked the entire 662 acres, but he sure was gone a LONG time. Besides the 29-site campground and the 18-hole championship golf course, this nice little park has lots of other amenities that apparently make it popular with the locals. There was a wedding going on in the two-story group shelter. It is the fanciest group shelter that we have seen in any park. There is a mini-golf course, paddle boats, a basketball court, and another first for us: something called "The Fitness Zone" with six outdoor exercise machines. There are some nice looking and well-kept cabins here too. It is a quiet and relaxing atmosphere in the park, and I did my share of relaxing and then some. The temperature hovered around 80 degrees, and I usually can't sleep if it's too warm, but I had no trouble here. I saw a few squirrels, but couldn't coax them over for some peanuts. Oh well, their loss. TV reception wasn't great, but the internet and cellphone reception was perfect. Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Gordonia Alatamaha (say that three times fast....impossible!) and wouldn't hesitate to come back anytime. It's just a few miles below Beaver Run RV Park where we stayed earlier this year, and it's centrally located in an area that has some good antique stores, if you like that sort of thing as much as Gary does. It lacks the breathtaking scenery that Amicalola and some of the other parks have, but it's still a great little place to hang out. I approve!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Parting Pics From Amicalola Falls

Sadly, our stay at Amicalola Falls passed by much too quickly. Gary and I had a GREAT time, but Dodge wasn't as thrilled. More on that in another post. We packed up early and left our mountain top campsite, then headed down that REALLY steep and winding road towards the entrance of the park. By the time we got there, my brakes and Dodge's brakes were hot enough that Gary and I could smell them. A little cooling off was necessary before we went any further, so we stopped at the visitor's center for a final look around. The Georgia approach to the Appalachian Trail is located behind the visitor's center, and even though Gary had explored the park pretty well during our visit, he somehow never saw the archway that marks the beginning of the trail. In case you didn't know, the Appalachian Trail is over 2100 miles in length, and runs all the way from Georgia to Maine, or Maine to Georgia, depending on which end you start from. Gary has been known to hike a few trails, and has even gotten lost on one. If he hiked the Appalachian, I'm sure I would never see him again. Luckily for me, I know he would never consider walking a trail longer than a handful of miles. After a half hour or so, the smell of hot asbestos from our brakes was no longer in the air. It was time to go. We headed out of the park, saying farewell to Smokey Bear along the way. Four days at Amicalola just wasn't enough, and next time (I hope) we'll stay MUCH longer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Amicalola: The Lodge, The Falls, And Gently Down The Stream

While I hung out here at the campsite, Gary spent most of the day exploring this beautiful park. His first stop was at the lodge for a look around at how the "other half" (people who enjoy NOT sleeping in campers) live. It's a BIG lodge, and a VERY nice one too. It has 57 rooms with large windows so the guests can enjoy the views. It also has a gift shop that sells all kinds of park souvenirs, a restaurant, and so much more. Guests that want to soak up a little sun can enjoy the views from first or second floor decks. The lodge was built in 1991, but was totally remodeled in 2014. Other renovations are currently underway including the extension of the entry way, and eventually a swimming pool. Fancy schmancy! For those that prefer something a bit less luxurious than the lodge, there are 14 cottages here that look very nice. After leaving the lodge, Gary headed over to the 425 step west ridge stairway at the top of the falls. It is a maze of stairs that looks like it never ends. The stairway leads down to the middle of the falls, the area with the most spectacular viewing opportunities. A couple of girls asked Gary to take pictures of them with their cameras, and they in turn took a couple of Gary. He took a LOT of pictures and videos of the falls and the flow of the waters downstream. I didn't want to bore you with too many of them, and it was difficult to just pick a few. The ones I've posted will give you an idea of what he saw. It's really pretty even with no leaves on the trees. I'll bet it would be even prettier in the spring and summer. From the walkway that crosses the falls, there's another 175 step maze of stairs that leads downstream. Gary walked them all in both directions, then continued his stroll on a path around the west rim. The path is "paved" with shreds of recycled tires that are bonded together to form a very long rubber mat. Gary said it's extremely comfortable to walk on. After all that walking, I expected Gary would be really tired, but he came back to the campground looking energized. I guess his weight loss and miles of walking in downtown St. Augustine has helped him physically more than I realized. That's great! I'm happy to see him taking better care of himself. We have one more day here at Amicalola. I don't know what Gary has planned, but I would like to sleep in for awhile tomorrow. We have a LONG drive to our next stop on Thursday, and I need to rest up. That's all for now.